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Showing posts from 2021

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies with Fresh Mint

The garden is in full swing over here at our house, and my fresh chocolate mint is trying to take over, as it likes to do.  If you let it, it will grow like a weed...but it smells oh.so.divine. In the past, I've plucked the extra, unruly mint from the garden and discarded it, but no more, friends!  No...from now on, I'm letting it grow however it wants and using it to make these deliciously minty cookies! Up until now, I've mainly just used my fresh mint to infuse teas.  A cookie craving hit me the other day, though, and these were the wonderful result. After a quick google search, I discovered a recipe by Andrea Bemis.  She brilliantly steeped melted butter with fresh mint, which you then strain and use in the cookie batter.  This perfectly infuses the butter with the flavor of fresh mint.  It comes through well in the finished cookies, but isn't completely over-powering.   If you are a mint chocolate chip fan, you MUST try these!  Or, if you have an over-abundance of

Celeste's Iced Caramel Macchiato (Starbucks Copycat Recipe!)

An Iced Caramel Macchiato was one of the things I was MOST excited about making once I had an espresso machine.  They are my absolute favorite Starbucks drink, and being able to recreate them at home has been amazing (not to mention a money saver!).  They may sound super fancy, but they are totally easy to whip up. With a Macchiato, it's all about aesthetics.  It has distinctive layers of caramel/vanilla at the bottom, milk in the middle, and gorgeous swirls of espresso that sort of dance around the edges of the glass.  A gentle swirl before drinking makes it all come together perfectly, and there's just something about those delicious globs of caramel at the bottom of the glass.  I never FULLY incorporate those when stirring, because they are just so delicious when they make their way up the straw. Enjoy, friends! Celeste’s Iced Caramel Macchiato (Starbucks Copycat Recipe!) Ingredients: 1 Tbsp caramel sauce 1 Tbsp vanilla sauce Ice 8-10 oz. milk (whatever your favorite kin

Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars

  If you love both Carrot Cake and Cheesecake and don't want to decide between the two, these delicious bars were made for you!  They marry the two desserts beautifully together into a bar that is perfectly sweet, but not overly so.  They were great served at room temperature, but even better the next day once they had a chance to chill. Just be prepared...they tend to disappear FAST! I loved this recipe because it includes both cinnamon and nutmeg, giving the carrot cake batter that warm, wonderful flavor that only a nice dose of spices can.   The cheesecake batter comes together quickly and its fun to swirl the two batters together into luscious swirls on the top. Enjoy!   Carrot Cake Cheesecake Bars Adapted from: Mel's Kitchen Cafe Ingredients: Carrot Cake: 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon 3/4 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp nutmeg 1/4 tsp salt 3/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup packed brown sugar 2 large eggs 3/4 cup canola oil

Orange Easter Bunny Rolls

These Orange Easter Bunny Rolls are so stinkin’ cute... almost too cute to eat.  But after one bite of these orange marmalade-infused rolls of goodness, you’ll forget how cute they are and devour the whole thing....plus maybe a second. Shh....Don’t ask me how I know this. I’m not sure why I don’t typically buy orange marmalade.  After all, it tastes so lovely on countless things.  It’s perfect in this recipe...bright and cheery for spring!  I might just add it to my regular jam rotation for a while. The homemade dough isn’t complicated or too fussy.  I made mine the day before and let it rise overnight in the fridge.  After it came to room temp sitting on the kitchen counter, I just proceeded as normal with the next steps.  Breaking the recipe up makes it seem even easier. Shaping the rolls is fairly easy.  Don’t stress over making them magazine-perfect.  They will be adorable (and delicious), don’t you worry!  Every bunny will love these! Happiest Easter to you and your family!  #Hei

Classic Buttermilk Pancakes

A stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes dripping with maple syrup is like a warm hug on a cold day.  I have a serious weakness for them, and they're always easy to whip together on an easy Sunday morning (are you humming the song now?). I have a handwritten journal where I jot down my very favorite recipes, which I turn to again and again and again.  This recipe earned a spot in it long ago and the page is now lovingly splattered from frequent use. If you're in a creative mood, you can add fresh blueberries, chopped strawberries, chocolate chips, chopped nuts or even mashed bananas to this batter.  The possibilities are endless!   Classic Buttermilk Pancakes   Ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour 2  1/2  tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 3/4 tsp salt 2 Tbsp granulated sugar 2 large eggs 2 cups buttermilk 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil Butter or cooking spray, for greasing the cook surface Directions: Preheat oven to 200 degrees F (for keeping the pancakes warm).   Combine the

Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl

This is one of those dishes that sort of sneaks up and surprises you with how delicious it is.  It has all of your favorite egg roll flavors - pork sausage, cabbage, green onions, garlic and ginger - over a bed of rice, and I'm totally here for it! A sprinkling of roasted peanuts and fresh cilantro over the top finishes it off perfectly.  My Homemade Wontons , which can be either fried or cooked in an air fryer, would be a great addition on the side, too. I used a simple bag of coleslaw mix to speed up the process and simplify things a bit.  With a relatively short ingredients list and quick preparation, it makes for an easy weeknight meal, for sure! Enjoy! Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl Adapted from::     Allrecipes.com Ingredients : 1 cup white rice 1 pound ground pork sausage 6 cups bagged coleslaw mix (with carrots) ¼ cup chopped green onions 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce 1 Tbsp sesame oil 1 Tbsp grated ginger 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts Cilantro, choppe

Mom's Pork Chops with Bell Peppers & Rice + The Smoky Mountains!

  Last week, we had a marvelous visit to the Smoky Mountains in TN...one of my favorite places in the whole world...with some of my favorite people in the whole world!  There's something about those beautiful mountains that calms my spirit.  My parents were able to join us, which was such a big treat.  Caroline loved spoiling them with lots of snuggles and it was so nice to relax and breathe in that fresh mountain air together.   My family got a great big laugh at the fact that I lugged our espresso machine all the way from Alabama to Tennessee.  But you know what?  They ALL enjoyed sipping their homemade lattes and hot chocolates while taking in that grand mountain view from the porch, and I will most certainly take it with us again next time we go...hah!   My husband and I were able to get in a hike to the top of Mt. Leconte, which has been at the top of my hiking bucket list for a VERY long time.  It was an 11+ mile hike with an elevation gain of over 2,700 ft and 27,000+ steps.

Air Fryer Mickey Beignets!

These beignets are an absolute DREAM for four reasons: 1.  They are pillowy and dreamy on the inside and crisp on the outside. 2.  They are healthier!  Thanks to an air fryer, these are NOT deep fried...plus they are made with greek yogurt. 3.  They are super EASY (only 6 ingredients). 3.  They are shaped like MICKEY! If you have ever been able to enjoy Mickey Beignets while visiting Disney World, you know how incredible Disney's version is.   There's just something about Mickey-shaped food, as well. I mean, it just TASTES better, right?? When making these beignets, I actually tried two different recipes/methods.  The first recipe involved yeast and evaporated milk.  While they were good and held their shape well, they were a little dense and not pillowy/soft on the inside.  The recipe below was much easier and tasted far superior. It was a win-win. There's no working with yeast and waiting on dough to rise with these.  You can whip them up within 30 minutes for your family

Hello Dolly Bars

Hello Dolly Bars (aka 7 Layer Bars/Magic Bars) are one of those classic desserts that you no doubt probably had as a kid.  With a graham cracker crust and easy layers of chocolate chips, pecans and coconut, these bars are a classic for a reason!  A can of sweetened condensed milk is drizzled over the top, which magically binds all of the layers together into ooey gooey perfection! In short, they are incredibly scrumptious with very minimal effort. A friend recently made a special request for these bars, so I got to work!  It's been a long time since I've had these, and as lover of a good chocolate/coconut dessert, I'm glad to have these back in my life (Thanks, Del!). These bars have several variations - You can also add white chocolate chips and/or butterscotch chips.  You can also substitute the pecans with walnuts, or leave them out altogether.  In fact, you could even use chocolate graham crackers in the crust, if you want a double (or triple) dose of chocolate. The ori

My Favorite Hummus

I couldn't post my Homemade Naan Bread recipe without also sharing my favorite homemade hummus!  They go together like peanut butter and jelly, after all! I'm fairly certain our daughter could live off of hummus.  She loves it with soft pita bread, pita chips, grape tomatoes, sweet peppers and sliced cucumbers.  Really, our whole family loves it.  I've even been known to spread it on lightly toasted slices of my Homemade Naan Bread  with a  sprinkling of Everything Seasoning and sliced turkey for a quick turkey sandwich. For convenience sake, I often buy the individual snack packs of hummus at the grocery store to make snack time easy, but nothing beats making it homemade.  The lemon juice adds a terrific freshness, and this recipe reminds me of the hummus at Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe. Celeste's Favorite Hummus Ingredients: 1 (15 oz) can chick peas, drained (reserve liquid) 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup tahini 1 clove garlic, minced 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive

Homemade Naan - Like at Disney's Sanaa!

Have you had the bread service at Disney World's Sanaa Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge?  The stuff is legendary.  There, you can feast on fresh Naan with a big selection of assorted dipping sauces...all with a view of the savanna while zebras and giraffes meander by.  I love Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge...they are a must when we visit! Homemade Naan is easier than you might think.  While traditional Naan is made in a hot tandoor oven, home cooks can get a similar result with a hot cast iron skillet (or a non-stick skillet if you don't have cast iron).  The trick is making sure your skillet is nice and hot before cooking the bread.   Also, the secret ingredient is the greek yogurt, which helps gives Naan it's pillowy texture.  I love drizzling warm Naan with either a little melted butter or olive oil and a sprinkle of Everything Seasoning.  YUM!   Naan has many uses, such as flatbread, pizzas, sandwiches, or just as a side for hummus, dipping sauces or stews. E

Strawberry Brownies with Dark Chocolate Ganache

  How was your Valentine's Day, friends?  Hopefully it was filled with lots of love (and chocolate!).  We have a tradition of this homemade spaghetti on V-Day (for at least 14 years running), and I usually whip up some sort of chocolatey dessert to go with it. This year, these dark chocolate brownies with strawberries and a dark chocolate ganache made a beautifully decadent dessert.  These are basically chocolate covered strawberries in brownie form, and are rich with a perfectly dense, fudgy brownie.   Don't wait for a special occasion to make them, though.  Whether it's Valentine's Day or some random day in the middle of winter, these make an equally wonderful indulgence!   Enjoy! Strawberry Brownies with Dark Chocolate Ganache Adapted from:   Southern Living Ingredients: 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp baking powder 2 large eggs 2/3 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract